Mental Health Relief for Small Business Owners

by Beth Rifkin

2 min read

Mental health is often overlooked by entrepreneurs before they start new businesses as they focus their attention on other aspects of their startups. Staying mentally healthy is vital for small business owners as it helps them make better decisions and remain happy.

Know Yourself

Before starting a business, get a full evaluation to determine your strengths and weaknesses. Determine what situations increase your anxiety and how you address stressful scenarios. Anxiety may be an advantage if it leads to more motivation to solve business problems. Ask family and friends to assess your strengths and weaknesses; they may alert you to characteristics you have that you might not have realized you had. For example, you may not realize that you don’t handle criticism well. Once you become aware of aspects that need improvement, you can develop strategies to help improve your mental well-being.

Be Prepared

The Scout motto, “Be prepared,” also applies to looking after your mental health. Anticipate situations that may trigger your anxiety. For example, if you get nervous presenting in front of people and have an important presentation to make to a venture capitalist, thoroughly prepare beforehand. Practice giving the presentation to your friends and family; this builds confidence and calms your nerves. Being aware of circumstances that can trigger anxiety allows you to address your fears in advance to help you manage them more effectively when it matters. Familiarize your team with your mental health issues so your team members can support you through challenging times. Be prepared to undertake professional counselling to help improve your mental health.

Build Your Mental Strength

Work on boosting your mental health by keeping your thoughts positive. Reassure yourself with encouraging self-talk. For example, tell yourself that you are confident of success, as you have conducted all necessary due diligence before commencing your startup. Improve your mental strength by maintaining perspective; focusing on the bigger picture stops you getting distracted from day-to-day annoyances. Small business owners tend to want to get everything done immediately; work on developing your patience to avoid unrealistic expectations that may lead to a sense of disappointment. Accept that certain issues are outside your control, and work on things that you can control.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

When you feel stress and anxiety starting to take control, find some personal time to perform relaxation techniques. Consider using the Pomodoro technique, which involves breaking work into timed intervals that are separated by short breaks. For example, perform work for 30 minutes, take a break for five minutes, and repeat this cycle throughout your workday. Leave your workstation and take a walk for 10 minutes to refresh your mind. Consider making time to visit your local park to do yoga or meditate and focus on your breathing. Keep some dark chocolate on your desk for when you a feeling flat; it regulates cortisol, a stress hormone.

References & Resources

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